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Your Turn

Time to grow up

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>The anniversary of 9/11 is coming up and no doubt we will be inundated with reruns of the tragic events of that day.

But will we be any wiser? Our Congress is investigating the attack but seems to have limited that project to figuring out what our intelligence community knew and when they knew it. That's not the point. Any fool could have known "it" was coming. As we watched the chaos of that day certainly many of us thought: The chickens have come home to roost.

But, remember, there was a small window of opportunity that tragic day -- it may have even lasted into part of the next day -- when pundits and people were asking: Why do they hate us? and intelligently discussing possible answers to that question.

God has certainly blessed our nation with abundance but so has the rest of the world been blessed with abundance. The fact that the rest of the world doesn't enjoy abundance is because we -- 5 percent of the world's population -- use 40 percent of the world's goods.

This is not by accident but by design. Back in the late '40s, a foreign policy was constructed based on the belief that the United States has the right to take as much as it can get. Naturally we understood that the rest of the world would be resentful, so we structured a policy that would protect us from their resentment and from any violence they might resort to. Thus the precedent of never going off the war economy was set. Since that time, some administrations have been subtler than others, but the basic premise has remained.

So of course the window for intelligent discussion quickly snapped shut -- our government knows best; we shouldn't be concerned with such complicated ideas. George Bush, like a kind daddy, told us children there are good people and there are evil people, and evil people did this bad thing to us because they are jealous of our freedom. The corporate media took its cue and the question of "Why?" was closed. The rest of us were fed patriotic propaganda. Our government proceeded along the trajectory laid out almost 60 years ago.

With this foreign policy there is no necessity to understand other people's culture or language nor listen to their aspirations or complaints -- certainly not the French and least of all the Afghanis or Iraqis. Just the other day, after three years, Bush told us once more, "They are jealous of our freedom!" But growing numbers of Americans are rejecting the infantile role we've been assigned.

Ordinary folks gather to hear their Moslem neighbors tell about their beliefs and values. Americans have voluntarily gone to war zones in the Middle East to stand between warring parties to listen to them and report back to the rest of us. We read the "news" more critically and search out alternative sources.

Many of our military -- especially those doing the real work -- are voicing their doubts about this enterprise. We question the multicolored strategy of fear as a way to keep us in line. We see the black humor in our administration trying to whip up fear about the possibility of Korea having a weapon of mass destruction while we have over 5,000 of them.

We organize to reject the PATRIOT Act that, ironically, trashes the freedom Bush insists is so attractive. We make the obvious connection between our government's growing rejection of international courts, agreements and treaties with other nations' reluctance to help us out of the quagmire in Iraq.

Could it be that by this anniversary of 9/11 we will have grown up enough to look at that hard question: Why do they hate us? Dare we challenge our nation's suicidal foreign policy? Do we, for the common good, love our country enough to embrace the rest of the world as well?

Sister of Charity Barbara Huber is the former editor of Pikes Peak Justice and Peace's Active for Justice and is a member of the Bijou Community.

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